As soon as June rolls around, rainbows and colorful decorations appear everywhere you look—indicating that Pride Month is here! During this historically important month, people around the world, LGBTIQA+ communities and allies alike, reach out for their rainbow flags, march in the streets and celebrate Pride Month. However, you might be wondering why June? Why is the celebration so important?
What is Pride Month?
Pride Month is an entire month dedicated to commemorating a historical event, known today as the Stonewall Riots, and celebrates LGBTIQA+ activism and culture. Have you ever wondered how it came to be?
The history of Pride goes back to June 1969 in the United States, a time when homosexuality was considered a mental disorder. Gay men and women, as well as the transgender community, had to hide whom they love and who they are because homosexual acts remained illegal across all states, with Illinois as the only exception. Bars and restaurants could get shut down for having homosexual employees or serving gay patrons. Hence, most gay bars in New York City at that time were operated by the Mafia, who bribed law enforcements to look the other way, all the while blackmailing gay patrons by threatening to “out” them. Police raids at these establishments were pretty common.
This means that a violent raid at the Stonewall Inn, a popular safe haven for the New York LGBTIQA+ community, during the early hours of June 28th, 1969 should not have been a big surprise. Undercover police officers entered the bar and arrested bar employees, as well as singled out drag queens and other patrons who did not dress according to their biological gender because “masquerading” as a member of the opposite sex was a crime.
However, something changed that warm summer night—the community decided to fight back and took a stand against discrimination. The confrontation turned into 6 days of protests and violent clashes, which sparked a new era of resistance and laid the foundation for the LGBTIQA+ rights movement as we know it today.
Love is love, but not everywhere
Since then, the LGBTIQA+ rights movement has advanced and evolved throughout the years. Same-sex marriage is legal in several countries around the world and we’re starting to see more representation of the community in mass media. However, the fight for equality is far from over. Here are a few astounding facts:
- Over half of the United Nations 193 Member States do not ban discrimination against sexual orientation.
- National laws criminalizing same-sex relations between consenting adults are still active in at least 67 countries—11 of which the punishment includes the death penalty.
- There are 13 countries that criminalize transgender people.
- The so-called “conversion therapy” (abusive sexual orientation and gender identity change practices) is banned in only 5 countries around the world.
Evidently, LGBTIQA+ rights cannot and should not be taken for granted, as discrimination, homophobia and transphobia are still present in our society. The annual Pride Parade creates a safe space for the community’s acceptance and self-expression, as well as commemorating Pride history, voicing concerns and pointing out steps which should be made so we can get closer to equality for all.
The perfect ambassador
Here at waterdrop®, we embrace diversity and stand against all forms of discrimination. We know that LGBTIQA+ communities around the world are still struggling every day with inequality and injustice. It is important to us to help amplify the voices and rights of the people within the community, which is why we are proud to stand alongside them with none other than Eurovision star Conchita Wurst, supporting the human rights organizations OutRight Action International and Queer Base.
Conchita Wurst is a talented artist and performer, well recognized by his winning debut at the 2014 Eurovision Song Contest. Since then, he has continued to inspire people to pursue happiness with his art and music. His commitment towards a better world doesn’t stop there: he is also engaged in the fight against discrimination, especially for the queer community. As an ambassador of the United Nations’ free and equal campaign, aimed at promoting equal rights and fair treatment of LGBTIQA+ people, he works hard to spread awareness whenever and wherever he can.
As the ambassador for waterdrop’s Rainbow Bottle 2022, he wants to highlight the message of acceptance and “Self love is self care”. This starts from small things, such as a healthy diet, meditation and, of course, drinking enough water. This is how the messages Drink More Water, BE PROUD. came to be—in the ultimate connection between self care and self love.
We stand with Conchita in the fight to building a more just world by contributing 10% of every Rainbow Bottle sold to support two incredible LGBTIQA+ organizations—both international and local—Outright Action International and Queer Base.
Come out right with Outright
Outright Action International, or simply Outright, is a non-governmental human rights organization that documents and fights, alongside local partners, any form of discrimination against lesbians, gays, bisexuals, transgenders, intersexes and queer people by supporting and promoting legal and social transformation in their countries. Outright is the only LGBTIQA+ organization with a permanent presence and a consultative status at the UN, which allows them to oversee almost 200 world governments around the globe and play a crucial role whenever there is a threat or an opportunity for improvements regarding human rights in those countries.
As you might remember, thanks to last year’s Rainbow Bottle campaign, we were able to donate 35,000€ to Outright Action International—making this the biggest donation ever received by the organization… and this year we set ourselves an equally ambitious goal.
This sum went into supporting all activities promoted and organized by OutRight, which continues to have a real impact in people’s lives the past 30 years. To mention a couple: OutRight co-coordinated a pioneering law against the discrimination of the LGBTIQA+ community in the Philipines and created the foundation for the birth of Iraq’s first and only LGBTIQA+ organization, as well as initiated regional LGBTIQA+ groups in the Caribbean and South East Asia and Jamaica’s first trans organization.
A home for all
QueerBase is an NGO based in Vienna, home to our Headquarters, that supports everyone who is persecuted or discriminated against because of their sexuality or gender identity in their home country. QueerBase supports gays, lesbians, transgenders, bisexuals, intersexes and queer people who have fled to Austria. This is to ensure that everyone is protected, integrated and welcome.
Queer Base does this by providing displaced individuals with consultations regarding legal and administrative matters, but also advice and insights regarding the community and its network in Austria.
QueerBase works with different organizations across Austria to provide specific care and support for LGBTIQA+ people, which spans from mental health to help with accomodation and education. They also provide training for those organizations that aid asylum seekers.
Celebrate love in all its colors
“Love is love” should not be just a phrase but a reality for all. Pride Month commemorates the community’s very first fight for equality and celebrates LGBTIQA+ activism and culture. Pride celebrations around the world are still important and will be until every member of the LGBTIQA+ community is guaranteed the right to live and love happily and freely, without facing any form of discrimination on an administrative, legal or personal level.
We would like to join our ambassador, Conchita Wurst, in encouraging that change. Of every single Rainbow Bottle 2022 sold, 10% will go towards supporting Outright Action International and Queer Base with their amazing work, local to our home in Vienna as well as globally.
Written by Jan Tungarat & Sergio Calabrese